Mental Floss

Symphony of Science: "Children of Africa"

Chris Higgins
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In the most recent installment of the Symphony of Science series, composer John Boswell uses clips from various BBC shows, Quest for Fire (!), and the words of: Jacob Bronowski, Alice Roberts, Carolyn Porco, Jane Goodall, Robert Sapolsky, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and David Attenborough. The song is about human origins in Africa, and draws a line from the first humans to modern humans who now go to space. It's worth a look if you've followed the series; the auto-tuning is relatively tasteful, though there is a repetitive quality to this particular song.

This is the tenth installment in Boswell's series. For more _floss coverage, search the site. I still think the first song, "A Glorious Dawn," is the best.

After the jump, check out a transcript of the lyrics.

[Jacob Bronowski] Man is a singular creature; He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals So that unlike them, he is not a figure in the landscape He is the shaper of the landscape [Alice Roberts] We are all children of Africa They say this is where it all began [Bronowski] In a parched African landscape Man first put his foot to the ground [Roberts] Africa was our only home for tens of thousands of years until a small handful of people made their way out of Africa [Carolyn Porco] These beings with soaring imagination Eventually flung themselves and their machines Into interplanetary space [Roberts] We are all children of africa This landscape has been home to humans Two hundred thousand years [Porco] We have come so far All of this is cause for great celebration We have come so far This is a story about us [Roberts] Those early Europeans Were people like you and me But it is humbling When you see the challenges they faced People like you and me Overcame the Neaderthals People like you and me Made it through the ice age [Refrain] [Jane Goodall] We are not the only beings With personalities, minds, and feelings Chimpanzees have very clear personalities [Robert Sapolsky] Take a chimp brain foetally And let it go two or three more rounds of division And out comes symphonies and ideology [Neil deGrasse Tyson] Everything that we are That distinguishes us from chimps Emerges from that one percent Difference in DNA [Roberts] People like you and me Overcame the Neaderthals People like you and me Made it through the ice age [Refrain] [David Attenborough] Using his burgeoning intelligence, This most successful of all mammals Has exploited the environment to produce food For an ever increasing population. Instead of controlling the environment For the benefit of the population Perhaps it's time we controlled the population To allow the survival of the environment

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